Tuesday, May 30, 2023
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Telecos’ Network fee push attracts opposition from EU regulators in support of Big Tech

BEREC, which is a collection of telecommunications regulators from the European Union (EU), issued a warning to the European Commission on Friday to discourage it from proposing the legislation that is being pushed by the industry to gain Big Tech’s assistance in paying for the implementation of 5G and the internet. BEREC said that it did not identify a competition problem or a market failure. It would seem that the statements made by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) to the European Commission, which is now conducting an investigation into the matter, highlight the high-stakes conflict between Big Tech and Europe’s main telecommunications carriers.

“There is no evidence of a competition problem or a market failure to the detriment of end-users regarding IP-interconnection,” the group concluded. Echoing Big Tech’s arguments, BEREC said it has its doubts about a mandatory network fee levied on the companies. “It is questionable that mandatory payments from CAPs (content and application providers) to ISPs (internet service providers) would lead to member states meeting the connectivity targets,” BEREC said. “On the contrary, it is rather likely that ISPs in already well supplied areas would benefit the most.” It was said that smaller telecommunications operators with fewer economies of scale and negotiating leverage may see a mandatory price as a disadvantage, while other telecom firms with their own streaming or cloud services may discriminate against and unjustly push these services.

According to BEREC’s findings, a tax comparable to this one might result in price increases for end users, discourage large technology companies from making investments, and violate EU regulations governing net neutrality. The telecommunications companies Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, and Telecom Italia have been campaigning in favour of Big Tech taking on part of the expenses associated with the network. Telcos claim that companies like Alphabet’s Google, Apple, Meta Platforms, Netflix, Amazon.com, and Microsoft account for more than half of all data traffic on the internet. These companies have all rejected the plan.

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